The reviews were universally in agreement:
LP12’s performance had been elevated to new, undreamt of heights.
Every reviewer who tried the Vector Link ended up using it in their own system.
Five years have passed. Designers are restless creatures and search endlessly for improvements.
Bettering what has been deemed to be the best, however, was never going to be easy.
Defining the requirements for the sub-chassis shows a conflict:
The Arm and Bearing must keep a fixed relationship.
This demands high structural rigidity:
A machined metal chassis satisfies that requirement and indeed it is commonplace, so there is nothing radical there.
That, however, is not the whole story.
Where does the energy from the cartridge travelling down the arm go?
Here was the problem.
To try and understand let us look at a bell or any sheet of metal. Tap them; because energy does not dissipate easily, they ring.
How then will a metal chassis dissipate energy? The answer is that it won’t.
In addition there is the mechanical energy from the cartridge travelling down the arm to deal with. Left to hit a hard interface, reflection takes place further altering the music. See the curves below.
As this is far from what we want, a metal chassis was not for us.
On the other hand a simple absorbent “soft” material would not hold the arm and platter firmly together.
Such conundrum took a lot of modelling and development to solve.
The result is Funk’s new Ankhor sub-chassis
Ankhor starts as an amalgam of thick, machined Carbon Fibre sheets and high density balsa to provide wide band absorption of mechanical energy.
Rigidity and absorption combined – Arm and Platter precisely held whist permitting controlled dissipation of energy.
The improvement is audibly better.
Ankhor delivers power with finesse and poise.
Ankhor is custom configured for any arm mounting arrangement of your choice and is of course ideal with high information retrieval arms such as Funk’s F.X modified Ittok and FXR II.
Ankhor Link is Funk’s optimal modification kit for LP12 and forms an ideal foundation as a music extraction platform for your records.
Ankhor chassis – Power with poise to mount your platter and arm
Achromat – the world’s most popular mat for LP12.
K-Drive II motor / PSU system – Superb, Single-Ended and Class A, now even better.
Vector Drive 3-pulley drive – There is no better way to turn your platter.
Clarity Top Plate – It is also utilised to great effect in Pink Link II, Vector Link.
This sections divides into various parts – motor, power supply, motor placement and platter drive.
1. The motor:
The reason? It outperformed AC motors.
Hold an AC motor. It buzzes, so you have to isolate it (by mounting on a top plate and using a belt).
Hold our DC motor. You simply cannot feel that it turning – A fact demonstrated to people visiting our room at hi-fi shows.
Despite this simple, clearly evident demonstration, the change to a DC motor was regarded as pure heresy.
Then in 2009 the unthinkable happened (to our mind it was inevitable):
The AC motor has given way to a DC motor! How radical is that?
There is no other way to put it: Simply we have been copied.
What we had been advocating for some 30 years was eventually accepted.
What does that say of our choice, our advice, our integrity in the first place?
That we had truly offered you, the listener, the finest and cleverest design for your LP12.
And because it was decried, you preferred to believe that instead of trusting in your own ears.
2. The Power Supply – K-Drive:
The motor is just one part. We still need to drive and control the motor.
For LP12, The Funk Firm developed a new and itself, radical power supply.
It was called K-Drive. Its configuration was and remains unique.
K-Drive is Pure class A with a single ended output stage – this is a configuration found in only the finest audio power amplifiers.
What makes it so good is an ultra low output impedance controls the motor with an uncommonly good grip.
After five years its performance record is its reputation.
Now in 2010 we introduce K-Drive II.
This improves on the original design by providing more headroom, better rejection of mains junk and consequently better motor control. As might be expected from a sophisticated design, servo action is applied with great delicacy – Only if speed errors are detected does it kick in – see the next section.
K-Drive II is very stable and under normal use complementing the Vector Link system, K-Drive II’s action is limited essentially to topping up the various frictional losses via bearing, belt and pulley and does not intrude.
No vibration from the motor is important for low level resolution.
On an suspended turntable, there is ONLY one place one should find a motor and that is on the sub-chassis.
Shown here is Vector Link’s motor mounted on CHARM.
There are no No Ifs.
There really are No Buts..
A turntable with the sensitivity and information retrieving capability of LP12, the last place you want for the motor is on the top plate and NEVER at the rear.
So why do it!
Limitations of the original buzzing AC motor meant it had to be mounted on the top plate so it could be decoupled – hence the development of belt drive.
Now in the 21st century, positioning the motor at the rear, however, really is about as stupid a place as can be envisaged.
Sorry for that strong statement but it is true.
Consequences to keeping the motor on the top plate:
Real world vibrations come from furniture and floorboards.
They are low frequency / high amplitude.
1. As the suspension does its job isolating, the sub-chassis (and platter) actually moves (nearer-to and further-away from the motor) and the belt stretches.
In other words, the drive is modulated.
This a very bad thing for either a DC motor or an AC motor for it cannot be compensated for and so it is heard.
2. The motor’s position opposite the cartridge means that as the belt pulls the platter the cartridge wiggles side to side and guess what, you get an output (which isn’t part of the music!). Nice, huh?
It is a very real effect.
So, it is true: Your turntable really is playing along with the music..only that’s not what you bought it for.
That may sound pretty terrible already but there is worse to come:
Contrary to glib commentary on various forums, if you want to generate Groove Scrub then simply mount the motor on the top plate at the rear!
This comes from the chassis swinging about the bearing leaving the stylus moving back and forth in the groove producing a phase modulation of the music. They alter the pitch.
The only solution is to tie the arm cable to stop the swinging of the chassis – but that then leads to feedback via the cable.
So for all of you with an LP12 and your motor at the rear, we have news for you:
“We can actually hear your “quiet” motor at the rear of the top plate”
What’s the answer?
There are two solutions. Both as elegant as they are dramatic in the improvements they deliver.
Pink Link II:
In the first case, the motor (AC or DC) should be positioned not at the rear but at the front left.
The improvements are heard instantly.
Why is this?
Ignoring the mathematics, it’s easy to see that how any motion from the motor is no longer across the cartridge,
Instead, it is now (generally) along the cartridge, down a line:
As these are all rigidly connected to each other, the cantilever’s motion is severely constrained and cartridge output reduced accordingly.
Who got there first? In fact it was Pink Triangle back in 1983.
This was subsequently offered to you LP12 owners from the very first Pink Link modification back in the early 1990s and again with Vector Link.
Just as with the DC motor, this too is an elegant, effective and cost-effective solution, which is being sadly decried with the laughable and scare-mongering claim of generating Groove Scrub.
Why laughable? Because it is by keeping the motor at the rear that Groove Scrub is generated in the first place whereas moving it to the front reduces it!
A case of attack being the best form of defence?
For those of you who still find it hard to believe there is a test and it is oh, so simple:
It is then a simple job to merely change the belt from position “A” at the rear, say, to position “B” at the front and compare.
Which gives better bass?
Which isolates better?
Which has more Groove Scrub?
Ultimately, which plays music better from your records?
(Again, the results really are very easy to hear)
Still worried about the scaremongering over “Groove-scrub”?
Still need a justification to move it?
Well, were you worried about changing your AC motor to a DC motor, as we had originally suggested?
Suddenly DC motors are now deemed “OK”.
But please credit us.
WE did get their first and that was some 15 years, which to us is a v-e-r-y long time ago!
So it was not us who have been holding back your enjoyment of music.
It should be more than apparent now that good design really is our passion; we want give you a superior product.
If we succeed we hope that you’ll keep coming back to us.
Now we are wondering how long it will be till other of our ideas are copied, such as sub-chassis mounted motors – see the next section.
We want our platter to turn evenly, smoothly and accurately.
We now have a motor turning so smoothly that it can’t be felt.
We have seen that mounting it on the top plate introduces distortions as it drives, so why keep it there?
The best place to mount the motor is on the sub-chassis, a la Vector Link 1, now on Ankhor (and some 20 years ago on Anniversary).
Its really obvious.
Doing this prevents all manner of outside world vibrations from muddling the tiny precious music signal from the cartridge.
Never forget, with analogue, once you add a signal to your music, you can’t get rid of it.
But even that is not good enough for us. Our researc, development and ultimately listening told us that there was more we could do to OUR LP12s – yes we do listen to our LP12s. We always have. It is because we listen that we can go about improving it.
What we discovered was that the play in the bearing, (not a fault, the oil gap is necessary to make any turntable bearing work properly) was working against us.
Our solution was not to attack the bearing but to work with it and so we came out with our Vector Drive for LP12.
Vector Drive Funk’s famous the 3-pulley drive system.
Let us return to the motor mounted on the top plate.
Recall it is connected to the platter/bearing via the belt in tension.
The bearing has a finite gap necessary for the oil film (you can feel it by gently rocking the sub-platter side-to-side).
As the tugging is in one direction only, it pulls the bearing over towards the motor.
BUT, the platter is turning. The tugging then keeps pulling the platter towards the motor.
This movement is large relative to the groove and so again it affects the music.
It is any wonder that information is lost?
Note: This action occurs independent of whatever motor is being used – AC or DC and its associated power supply.
With its carefully positioned three pulleys, Funk’s Vector Drive spreads the drive force about the bearing.
This reduces the loss of information.
It really is the best way to turn your LP12 platter.
There is no better.
With the motor on the chassis, this constraint is relaxed.
We can now replacing the original stiff cable by a new flexible Flexi-Link, thereby removing yet one more layer of distortion and colouration.
Wraith “Air Dielectric” Flexi-Link cable preserve electrical signal purity is preserved to the phono stage.
The soft floppy nature of the cable can be seen in the photo below.
Felt mats are not a good termination for vibrations coming from the record. They are responsible for hiding low level information and lowering dynamic range. (they also induce static and come off with the record.)
Replacing your felt mat by Achromat, a simple A-B comparison shows its obvious superiority. Then there are the testimonials.
Hi, just received my achromat and am over the moon with it.
It is an absolute revelation and the only complaint I have is that I
am going to have to listen to all my vinyl again because I am hearing
things I’ve never heard before.
“…These two will make four mats and a platter from you! I am selling my last Mystic Mat on
Ebay right now! I never thought that I would do that, but your Achromats are just so brilliant! They cost far less, too! I think that people that do not own one are missing out on something very special.
Thank you for making the best Rega upgrades on the market. I have been able to push the Planar 3 to unthinkable levels of performance, thanks to you.
As always, I appreciate your time and talents!
“… couldn’t wait !
Bloody Hell – it’s different…Love the extension at the frequency extremes…and the speeds staying spot on.
Have been listening over the weekend & initial impressions are that every album is like a new experience.
The bass is sublime as is the stability/pitch. Vocals /midrange blinding. Treble is as sublime as the bass.
It’s sometimes the ‘whole’ picture that is disconcerting but not blaming the messenger
Some things are magical and some sound s–t but I take this as a good omen, if it made everything sound nice I’d be worried.
I have listened to the whole shebang from Hall & Oates, Handel, Little Feat, Miles, Ella, Vivaldi, the Durutti Column
and it never fails to surprise, some of them have the jaw agape, some of them not.
…I really think that it is so revealing that’s it makes an arm with vta on the fly a necessity…”
We could go on. But we think we’ve made our point.
For those of you still scared to open your eyes, we simply wonder why.
You only have your music to gain.
As if that were not enough, a money-back guarantee gives re-assurance to all.
From the above it is clear why to date not one person has asked for a refund of the kit.